- August 31, 2015
Legal absurd reaches its peak. “Konarski” without older classes?
It is the 31st of August, last day of summer holidays is coming to an end, new school year’s work schedule is basically signed and sealed. Suddenly the direction of a school gets a call from the school inspectorate of the capital’s local-government demanding to urgently notify the students and parents that there will be no classes 11 to 12 in this school. Unfortunately, this is not a fictitious, hypothetical situation but a very real one. It happened today afternoon and the mentioned school is Szymon Konarski Secondary School. Other schools, which tried to defend their status through legal course and got the permission to maintain older classes issued by the court also received similar calls with “suggestions” to act accordingly to the local-government’s resolution, not the court which suspended the mentioned document.
Szymon Konarski Secondary School is one of the nine Vilnius’ schools which pursuant to the Vilnius City Council’s resolution from the 29th of July 2015 were to be reorganised into primary schools. Schools’ communities did not agree with such resolution and decided to seek justice in court. Szymon Konarski Secondary School did that first. The parents asked the court to suspend the resolution arguing that if there are no classes 11 to 12 from the 1st of September, students will have to search for another school a few weeks before the beginning of the school year which will have negative impact on their preparations to school-leaving examinations. In “Konarski’s” case, the written answer from Vilnius Regional Administrative Court arrived on the 18th of August. Until the examination of the case scheduled for the 5th of October, the decision of the Vilnius City Council from 29th of July 2015 was overruled.
City Council used the possibility to appeal this decision and the higher instance court took the side of the capital’s local-government – the decision made by Vilnius Regional Administrative Court was cancelled. The school was informed about it a day before the beginning of the new school year. “At 16:30 I received a call from the local-government with a demand to urgently call the parents and students in order to inform them that there will be no classes 11 to 12 in our school. I replied that this is not possible. Our students will come tomorrow to the school year inauguration”, Krystyna Kratkowska, vice-director of Szymon Konarski Secondary School, told Wilnoteka.
Students of 11 and 12 classes did not have a calm summer. Until the half of August they did not know in which school they will learn. The situation was clarified by the courts decision. “Our students patiently waited for the court’s decision and even those who took their documents and moved to other schools came back after. We have two classes 11 and two classes 12. The students want to pass their school-leaving examinations in our institution”, said Krystyna Kratkowska.
Supposedly, everything is alright in the light of the law – the local-government used existing legal possibilities. However, the haste with which the higher instance court took the decision in support of the local-government is surprising. Whereas the acting methods of the local-government are rather distasteful than surprising.
Councillor Edyta Tamošiūnaitė informed Wilnoteka that there were calls made by the school inspectorate to other schools that submitted a complaint to the court. “The directors were informed about the situation with the Szymon Konarski Secondary School and that the same thing is awaiting their schools, so they should not mess around and act accordingly to the resolution”. Edyta Tamošiūnaitė thinks that in this situation the Vilnius’ authorities acted unpardonably, above all, towards the students. “We will not leave this unheard. There will be next lawsuits”, she assured.
Translated by Marcin Wus within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.